Changes are coming to an AP Black history course, but the College Board says suggesting Florida's objections played a role is a 'wildly misleading'

Ron DeSantis and wife Casey DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisWilfredo Lee-Pool/Getty Images
  • The College Board released its new framework for its AP African American Studies course Wednesday.

  • The course makes topics like Black Lives Matter, reparations, and prison abolition optional for students to research.

  • College Board denied that the framework was changed because of Florida's rejection of the course for imposing "a political agenda."

The College Board denied Wednesday that their African American studies class was changed because the course was rejected by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The College Board announced the new framework for their African American studies class Wednesday, making topics like the Black Lives Matter movement and affirmative action optional.

The course includes content on Africa, slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement.

But much of its modern content — like Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, and reparations — has been labeled as optional for a required research project.

According to the course framework, those optional topics "are not a required part of the course framework that is formally adopted by states and that defines the exam" and "can be refined by states and districts."

There is also a lengthy section in the course introduction detailing that College Board "opposes indoctrination" — language DeSantis and Republicans have used in the past — and that "AP students are not required to feel certain ways about themselves or the course content."

But in a statement, the College Board said suggesting DeSantis' public rejection of the class influenced the changes was "a gross misrepresentation of the content of the course and the process by which it was developed."

"The fact of the matter is that this landmark course has been shaped over years by the most eminent scholars in the field, not political influence," said the College Board.

The statement also said that revisions to the class were made before Florida refused to offer it to students.

In January, DeSantis' administration blocked the class from being offered, saying it imposed "a political agenda" with its content on queer theory and prison abolition.

"This is a course on black history—what's one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now, who would say that an important part of black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids," DeSantis said in a press conference.

DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

When College Board announced that it would rework the course based on student feedback from a pilot program in 60 high schools, Florida's education department said it expected the removal of so-called "critical race theory" and "queer studies" from the class.

"AP courses are standardized nationwide, and as a result of Florida's strong stance against identity politics and indoctrination, students across the country will consequentially have access to an historically accurate, unbiased course," Director of Communications for the Florida Department of Education Alex Lanfranconi said in a statement at the time.

Florida's legislature previously passed regulations that limit how topics like queer identity, sexual orientation, and racism are taught and talked about in schools.

The Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on the new course.

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